Bridenstine’s visit to SpaceX a non-story

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Link here. Essentially he just reiterated his desire to have the private capsules being built by SpaceX and Boeing flying by early next year.

Essentially, the announcements in the last few days by Musk and Boeing about their upcoming testing and launch schedule for both Dragon and Starliner respectively took the steam out of his SpaceX visit.

In fact, I wonder what the politics were behind this. It is almost as if both companies wanted to take the steam out of his appearance here. Most intriguing.



  • Scott M.

    Bob, do you think it could be a bit of PR by NASA to smooth over that odd tweet before the Starship presentation? Effectively trying to show the press that “Nah, we’re all buddies here! Things are going great!”

    I agree that the presentation was pretty much a nothingburger. I was hoping to get some firm dates for the first manned missions, but I guess that’s asking for too much :)

  • Matthew Straney

    I got a laugh of the picture of Jim B. sitting in the doorway of the Dragon Capsule, after 4 + years of development of the Dragon Capsule how many times do you think hes been shown that part of the ship? Probably not many new things to see from that angle.

  • David K

    In a decade or two, I suspect that NASA will stand for the national astronomical science academy and will continue with space science and nothing else. Everything else will be either commercial or part of military space endeavors.

  • Patrick Underwood

    I didn’t have the negative reaction you guys did. Bridenstine really gets it about commercial space; he wrote on the subject prior to becoming Administrator. I didn’t like–and don’t understand–the tweet either, but then I’ve seen a few tweets from my man Musk that are truly repellent. Bridenstine seems the most pro-commercial Administrator there’s been. Certainly better than “I’m not a big fan of commercial investment in large launch vehicles” Charles Bolden.

    He spoke in support of Starship, and even brought up the fact of early underfunding of Commercial Crew by Congress.

    He floated the idea of flying Orion on FH, and almost got his head handed to him for that transgression. He’s politically out-gunned by Richard Shelby, who is the de facto King of NASA and, as they like to say these days, “make no mistake.”

  • Mike Borgelt

    There’s the NASA administrator looking at a SpaceX capsule. Meanwhile in Boca Chica the same company is building the first magnificent real spaceship. Everything else has been capsules or spaceplanes. LOL!

  • Patrick Underwood

    Over on NSF, the most hilarious take I’ve seen so far:

    “A curious meeting between the leader of the nation’s space program and the NASA guy.”

  • Edward

    Considering that the visit was prompted by a comment by Bridenstine implying that SpaceX was taking too long to deliver astronauts to the ISS, it sounds to me as though the purpose of the visit was to reassure the public and SpaceX workers that the company is not falling down on the job.

    I once worked in a solar astrophysics department of a company. When a new division head was assigned, he made an off the cuff comment that maybe the company should not be involved in counting sunspots. That division head did not last many more days, and his successor had to come around to my department to apologize for the comment. We were involved in sunspot-associated phenomena, and the number of sunspots was a byproduct; we also studied a number of other mysterious and interesting phenomena about the sun, often using space based x-ray telescopes.

    Bridenstine did something similar, and for political reasons he had to take a valuable day out of his schedule to make similar amends. It isn’t only presidents who have to be careful of what they say.

    The article said that “SpaceX was only devoting about 5 percent of the company’s resources on the new launch system and that Crew Dragon remains the California rocket builder’s top priority.

    ‘Only five percent’ makes it sound as though a company that has many irons in the fire should be devoting more resources to a project with its developmental testing winding down and its operations not yet started. I’ll bet that Boeing has far, far less than five percent of its resources going toward Starliner, but I would not even think of suggesting that this means Boeing is not properly focused on its manned Starliner.

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